3 Lilypads and a Frog
A friend of mine showed me a math problem which posed the problem of a frog jumping over 3 lilypads twice and ending up in the same position. Does the frog always end up in the same place and why? The activity is represented with 3 pennies and a dime, where the frog is the dime. I thought this would be a fun opportunity to try out the problem using Google Slides.
[expand title=”Click here for directions on authorizing the script.”]
I personally coded the 3 pennies and a dime. This clearly does not have enough application to go through the Google Approval process to have it made into a permanent Add-on. This means that you’ll need to authorize the use of my script coding. After selecting “Insert pennies” you will see a pop up that says “authorization required.”
Then just to make sure that you want to use this script that Google did not review they give you some more cautions and you’ll find tiny words that say “Go to pennies (unsafe).” It is safe, I personally coded it.
If you do not like the position of the pennies you can use the menu to clear the pennies and try again.
Place the Dime
The dime acts as a frog jumping over lilypads (pennies). The frog (dime) will jump over each penny twice. The question is “will the frog always land in the same place, how do you know?”
It is important that the students have different randomly placed pennies so they can see that they do indeed end up where they started. This is not the math. The math is in the explanation of why that works.
I also want to get students into the habit of “showing their thinking,” as opposed to “show your steps.” What observations are they making as they do the activity? Inserting comment slides is where they can make these observations.
Another tip is when doing multiple drawings in Google Slides is to not have to recreate the formatting for each item. Before drawing something in Google Slides click on a previous drawing element that has the formatting you want. Then when creating a new drawing element, it will match.
Another trick is to change the zoom on the slides. Remember the students are using the Google Slides as a workspace and sometimes you need more space. I find when using Google Slides to model math problems I will frequently change the zoom.
Duplicate the Line
The trick is that the frog jumps OVER the lilypad in the same distance it was from the other side. To make sure the distance is the same, duplicate the line from the dime to the penny and place it to match at the center of the penny.
TIP: Hold down the Shift key and use the arrow keys to nudge the 2nd line into place.
Move the Dime
I needed to code the dime and the pennies so that each student (or group) would have different penny placement. Did everyone get back to where they started (approximately, this wasn’t perfect measurement)?
Not the Same
Giving students similar but not the same problems is a trick for increasing critical thinking and encouraging mathematical discussions. When students are doing the same problem they “check each other’s answers.” Low critical thinking. “Yup, I got that too.” Or “Let me show you what I did.” When students have different problems they need to compare and contrast.
Why Google Slides
Geogebra, Desmos or good old fashioned hands on manipulatives are awesome tools for this too! Slides is for a different reason. The duplicating of each slide along with the ability to insert comments and textboxes to show thinking and ideas is why to use Google Slides.
Google Slides is also great for teacher and peer feedback. Teachers can insert comments to help develop students thinking and understanding.
If students made a mistake, do NOT delete anything! Do not edit anything! Instead, duplicate the slide at the point where the student went wrong (tip to insert a slide explaining the retry) and then move forward again from that spot. If students are doing strategic thinking it should be expected they try something and then need to restrategize.